Sexual Harassment

The United Stated Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines sexual harassment as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

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This definition has been further elaborated:

Sexual harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances, including but not limited to the following:

  • The victim as well as the harasser may be a woman or a man. The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex.
  • The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, an agent of the employer, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or a non-employee.
  • The victim does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.
  • Unlawful sexual harassment may occur without economic injury to or discharge of the victim.
  • The harasser’s conduct must be unwelcome.

There are basically two types of legally accepted sexual harassment

Quid pro quo sexual harassment

This occurs in workplace when in lieu of job benefits someone submits to unwelcome sexual advances. For instance a subordinate female executive submitting to the sexual advances of male superior because of fear of loosing job in case of non acceptance of sexual advances made by him. Quid pro quo also occurs if while evaluating performance sexual favor is desired by the evaluator from employee in order to provide or withhold professional opportunities. Quid pro quo harassment is equally unlawful whether the victim resists and suffers the threatened harm or submits and thus avoids the threatened harm.

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